This year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crashes, isolation and lockdowns, EQUALS partners found new and innovative ways to make progress toward a future of equal access, skills and leadership opportunities in the digital world. We remain steadfast and dedicated to building this future together, using the power of partnership.
Because everyone could use a bit of good news, here are just a few of the many success stories from the EQUALS Global Partnership in 2020:
EQUALS - EU PROJECT
The Research Coalition launched a project coordinated by OsloMet, with funding of 1.6 million euro to help build capacity in gender-inclusive innovation ecosystems in 24 countries around the world. Click to find out more
GSMA led the successful global launch of the Tech4Girls programme powered by EQUALS. Three pilot workshops, funded by Verizon, were held in the Caribbean and Pakistan. Participants learned digital skills related to setting up online commerce sites. Many more workshops to come!
TALKING TECH - GIRLS IN ICT
This year’s International Girls in ICT Day (an ITU initiative) kicked off a year-long intergenerational virtual interview series exploring tech and tech careers through one-one interviews of women in tech by younger women and girls in tech.
More than 35 interviews have already been conducted with many more in the pipeline. Lots of inspiring and practical career advice and secrets to success have been shared and many new intergenerational connections have been forged.
TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTING ENTREPRENEURS
While it has been a difficult year for all, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation is particularly proud of the 2.3 million micro-entrepreneurs it serves in Latin America, 57% of whom are women. In particular, these women have shown grit and tenacity by adapting and reinventing their businesses and whenever possible, to keep providing for their families. Harnessing technology to complement our relational banking model has been fundamental, whenever possible, in mitigating the consequences of COVID-19. Our commitment to digital transformation through mobile banking, financial education and digital skills training, has allowed us to continue accompanying our female entrepreneurs these months, remotely but with the same quality that characterizes us.
TECH AS A DRIVER OF WOMEN'S ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
Four workshops were held as part of an ITU-Enhanced Integrated Framework project (a joint contribution to EQUALS). Two workshops in Ethiopia on 2 December focused on enhancing women’s opportunities in the Textiles and Apparel sector, with discussions of new technologies, opportunities and challenges that have arisen in the context of COVID-19. Two workshops in Burundi on 4 December focused on the coffee/cacao value chain, and the many ways that digital technologies can help women succeed at every step from field to market. Click to find out more
PERCEPTIONS OF POWER
Led by GSMA, a new survey report entitled “Perceptions of Power: Championing Female Leadership in Tech,” examines how men and women in middle and senior management positions define leadership, with a particular focus on the gendered differences in leadership perceptions. This is critical, as perceptions of power, among other factors, affect the gender gap in leadership.
DOT YOUTH STREET TEAM
In response to COVID-19, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) launched the #DOTYouth Street Team, a coordinated support network of youth in Africa and the Middle East. DOT is supporting members of the #DOTYouth Street Team to create health and wellness initiatives for women and girls; to enhance the digital skills of women and girls; and to connect women and girls to digital jobs. Click to find out more
E-SKILLS FOR POLICYMAKERS
The Web Foundation is proud that we completed our #eskills4policymakers workshop series with a final workshop for policymakers in Asia to close the digital gender gap (and right before the world went into a lockdown!), as well as welcoming and supporting the second class of Equals Digital Skills Fund grantees from around the globe. Click to find out more
DIGITAL SKILLS FUND GRANTEE MENTORING PROGRAM
Now in its second year, the Digital Skills Fund — a partnership between the Web Foundation, EQUALS, and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (GIZ) — supports projects providing gender-sensitive skills training to women and girls across communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Grantees are also supported through networking opportunities. This year, a series of four sessions with mentors from IBM, GIZ, ITU, W4, and GSMA brought grantees together for discussions on topics such as human resources, communications/marketing, organizational development, fundraising, strategic partnerships, and government/policy and institutional support. Click to see the 2020 grantees
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2021
Thank you to everyone who worked for digital equality this year, when it was never more clear that we must work together to bring equality to online access, digital skills, and tech leadership opportunities. Let's build a bright digital future together, for everyone!